Car prowls dampen holiday cheer

Leaving Christmas presents in your car could prove an irresistible lure for thieves.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is spreading that not-so-merry holiday message after seven residents in Odell were victimized by a spree of car prowls within the past week.

Those crimes follow seven other breakins during the past 30 days that has netted the unknown suspects a combined total of more than $7,500 in electronic equipment and other goods.

“If you don’t want it stolen don’t leave it in your car,” said Hood River County Detective Gerry Tiffany.

Tiffany said car prowls remain the top property crime in the county and are most likely being committed by juveniles. However, he said the perpetrators of the recent crimes seem to be less experienced at removing car stereos and CD players than the thieves involved in other break-ins at the first of the year.

For that reason, Tiffany said a lot more dashboards are being damaged and sometimes the electronic items are ruined in the process of being pried out of holders. He said there are no known suspects at this time but many citizens were easy targets because the doors to their vehicles had been left unlocked.

In addition to securing unoccupied cars or pickups, Tiffany recommends citizens take the following precautionary measures:

* Park in well-lit areas.

* Don’t leave valuables within plain view.

* Engrave expensive accessories and major parts with your VIN or personal identification number.

* Face the front of the car toward a light source so that is plainly visible.

* Never hide a second set of keys on the car.

* Park the vehicle in a garage if one is available.

During the first weeks of 2001, numerous vehicles were broken into throughout the county.

Please turn to Sheriff’s Log on page A8.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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